Vertical wall about 5' high.
This shows a combination of methods. Mortared river rock on the bottom. Fake rock above the river rock. Then above ground is 3/4" stone mortared to the side of concrete block.
This wall is about 5' tall on the left side of the picture. It's difficult to tell but the round river rock is the bottom of the pond. Those large flat rocks are real rock about 2-3' in size. Using flag stone makes the job go faster. I mortar additional smaller rock around the large rock and add some fake rock to keep the wall from looking like a patio.
Boulders and cliffs above ground can also be made of fake rock. There are several advantages. Since the fake rock is a fairly thin veneer the inside can be garden soil. Holes can be left in the rock for plants which look like they're growing out of rock but are actually in deep rich soil with excellent drainage. Another advantage is fake rock can be scaled down to fit the setting. A waterfall 10' away can made in reduced scale so it appears much further away which makes the pond look bigger and the waterfall higher than its actual size. Use minature plants and the trick is even more pronounced.
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